U.S. To Route All Travelers From Ebola Stricken Nations To Specific Airports

A new regulation will require all persons arriving in the U.S. from the nations western Africa dealing with the Ebola crisis, either directly or indirectly, to come through one of five airports:

WASHINGTON — Anyone flying to the United States from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa must enter the country through one of five airports screening for the disease, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson said Tuesday as the Obama administration stepped up precautions to stop the spread of the virus.

Last week, the government instituted temperature checks for West Africans arriving at Kennedy International in New York, Newark Liberty International, Washington Dulles International, O’Hare International in Chicago, and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta. The five airports already account for 94 percent of all arrivals from the affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. A fever is one symptom of the disease and an indication that the person could be infectious.

“We currently have in place measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days,” Mr. Johnson said in a written statement.

Mr. Johnson said airlines were working to reroute passengers who had been scheduled to arrive at other airports.

Since the majority of arrivals from the nations in question apparently already come through one of these airports, this is not likely to be a severe disruption to air travel and, at the very least, it seems far more cost effective and efficient than stationing personnel at every possible entry point in order to catch the relative handful of passengers who might arrive somewhere other than these five airports.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. U.S. To Route All Travelers From Ebola Stricken Nations To Specific Airports

    Aren’t all travelers from anywhere routed to specific airports? Air traffic control doesn’t let airlines just fly around and land wherever they feel like at the moment.

  2. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I think it means that if you’re flying from one of these countries, you can only buy a ticket on a carrier flying to one of the five airports. If you want to get to, say, Boston, you’d be allowed on a connecting flight after you’d passed the check.

  3. qtip says:

    I wonder if all airlines will need to reprogram their sales algorithms to ensure all these passengers are routed correctly?

  4. lounsbury says:

    Fairly pointless unless someone has bought a through ticket. Persons carrying other passports also….